Kemp to issue new executive order after negotiations break down with Mayor Bottoms over mask mandate

Kemp to issue new executive order after negotiations break down with Mayor Bottoms over mask mandate
Two judges recuse themselves from legal battle between Bottoms, Kemp

ATLANTA — Gov. Brian Kemp announced Thursday that he will ask the attorney general to withdraw a lawsuit he filed against Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms and the city council.

Kemp sued the city last month after Bottoms announced that the city would roll back to Phase One, which suggested that some businesses close up again and that people shelter in place. Bottoms had also made masks mandatory in the City of Atlanta.

Kemp said Thursday that during negotiations, Bottoms agreed to back down on the Phase One rollback, but would not roll back her mask mandate.

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State officials said that Kemp's office agreed to allow the City of Atlanta to enforce the mask mandate of city-owned property and both sides agreed on a cap on the penalties associated with violating the mask mandate.

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State officials said the governor’s office did not agree to allow the city to enforce the mask mandate on privately-owned residential property or private businesses without the business owner’s consent.

Officials said Bottoms was insistent that the city be allowed to enforce a mask mandate inside private businesses.

“For weeks, we have worked in good faith with Mayor Bottoms, and she agreed to abandon the city’s Phase One roll-back plan, which included business closures and a shelter in place order,” Kemp said. “Unfortunately, the Mayor has made it clear that she will not agree to a settlement that safeguards the rights of private property owners in Georgia.”

Kemp said that following Bottoms' refusal to further negotiate a compromise, the Attorney General's office has filed to withdraw the lawsuit.

Kemp said because of the stalemate with Bottoms, he will address the mask mandate issue in a new Executive Order after his current order expires on August 15.

“We will continue to protect the lives and livelihoods of all Georgians,” Kemp said.

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